Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Queensland: Liquor Licensing
I wish to add to previous comments that I have made in this place on the damaging effects of the Queensland Labor government's lockout laws on Brisbane locals. Blanket bans are often a knee-jerk policy response with unintended consequences. Usually there are more sophisticated policy options that can help us to avoid punishing the majority for the sins of the few. The next tranche of Queensland's lockout laws will begin by February. Many young people who work in our pubs, clubs and night economy have already found their hours and shifts reduced. Many will suffer further cuts to their hours and take-home pay when the next tranche takes effect. The lockouts are costing Queensland the equivalent of 6,000 jobs, mainly for younger workers and at a time when the Queensland economy has a problem with high youth unemployment. The cost to the Queensland economy is estimated to be around $150 million a year. For the LGBTI community, Labor's lockouts have the effect of shutting LGBTI community members out of some of their traditional safe spaces.
I implore our colleagues in the Queensland parliament, politely and constructively at this stage, to urgently review their lockout laws in light of all of the recent evidence in Queensland and other jurisdictions. I note in passing that the state MP who represents the Brisbane CBD and the valley is supposed to be the Queensland Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations but instead is overseeing these cuts in staff hours, jobs and pay. To date, the frequency of alcohol-related hospital presentations in Queensland has not dropped. In fact, the early data suggests that the rate appears to have slightly increased. Speaking to The Courier-Mail, an emergency specialist from the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital with over 20 years experience said that anyone who thought these laws would have a major impact on emergency departments was 'naive and ignorant'. He said:
The legislation was never going to have a major impact on the number of people that we see turn up in our emergency departments, the workload or the patterns of behaviour.
I am naturally very conscious of the cases and the reasons why these laws were rushed into creation. That is why I worked hard as a candidate to secure commitments for funding for community safety and crime prevention initiatives in the CBD and the valley, and I am looking forward to working hard to deliver on those commitments in government. I will remain a strong supporter of Brisbane residents, both younger and older, deserving a night-life, especially in the new world city, where we rely on tourist and visitor spending.
In closing, I pay tribute to Lance and the team at ChaplainWatch for their tireless on-the-ground efforts in our local community. I also pay tribute to everyone involved in the safe night precinct, the safety community and Our Nightlife Queensland. We must keep supporting our live music and arts industry, aspiring musicians and DJs, the local small businesses and all of those young people employed in the Brisbane CBD and the valley. These are some of Queensland's most vibrant, creative, iconic and dynamic spaces.